Hachette responds to Amazon’s statement, will discuss compensating authors when terms are reached
May 28, 2014 | 1:28 pm
Last night we got a statement from Amazon in regard to its current squabble with Hachette over contract terms; today we get a (somewhat snarky) statement from Hachette. Digital Book World has posted Hachette’s statement, which I’ll reproduce in full here:
It is good to see Amazon acknowledge that its business decisions significantly affect authors’ lives. For reasons of their own, Amazon has limited its customers’ ability to buy more than 5,000 Hachette titles.
Authors, with whom we at Hachette have been partners for nearly two centuries, engage in a complex and difficult mission to communicate with readers. In addition to royalties, they are concerned with audience, career, culture, education, art, entertainment, and connection. By preventing its customers from connecting with these authors’ books, Amazon indicates that it considers books to be like any other consumer good. They are not.
We will spare no effort to resume normal business relations with Amazon—which has been a great partner for years—but under terms that value appropriately for the years ahead the author’s unique role in creating books, and the publisher’s role in editing, marketing, and distributing them, at the same time that it recognizes Amazon’s importance as a retailer and innovator. Once we have reached such an agreement, we will be happy to discuss with Amazon its ideas about compensating authors for the damage its demand for improved terms may have done them, and to pass along any payments it considers appropriate.
In the meantime, we are extremely grateful for the spontaneous outpouring of support we have received both privately and publicly from authors and agents. We will continue to communicate with them promptly as this situation develops.
It’s pretty much a mirror image of Amazon’s own statement, sniping at Amazon’s negotiation tactics while nonetheless calling Amazon a “great partner for years.” Though it’s interesting that Hachette says that Amazon is the one who was demanding better terms in the negotiation. Better terms than what? About what?
As one commenter on The Passive Voice points out, it’s pretty rich of Hachette to accuse Amazon of “limiting its customers’ ability to buy” those Hachette titles when it’s essentially putting them on the same terms as it does indie-published e-books: no pre-orders, and price set by the publisher.
And Hachette tries to make Amazon out to be the bad guy, at the same time as it declines any talk about a fund for compensating authors until such time as terms in their negotiation can be reached.
So, yeah. Neither statement is going to change anybody’s mind, especially given how heated the rhetoric has been and how little of actual substance is known. As to who is going to come out on top, I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see.
I’ve got a sneaking suspicion Amazon is willing to take its position all the way to the bitter end of regretfully dropping Hachette altogether at the end of the contract after they were unable to reach an agreement. How far is Hachette willing to go?